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Public Outcry Trails Murder Of Journalist In Eastern DR Congo

Heritier received a telephone call from someone who gave him an appointment at the spot where he was slaughtered.

Public outcry and condemnation have continued to greet the murder of Heritier Mayangana, a journalist and technician with the Congolese National Radio/Television sub-station in Rutshuru, Eastern DR Congo. 

Twenty-six-year-old Mayangana was killed at about 19:30 hours in Buyangula in North Kivu province on Saturday, Aug 7 by yet-to-be-identified assassins using machetes with which they slashed his throat and cut off his tongue. He was returning home from work.

According to the non-governmental organisation (NGO), La Voix des Sans Voix pour les Droits de l’Homme (VSV) – the Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights – “the cruelty to which the assassins resorted without compunctions and the umpteenth assassination has plunged into emotional distress, the inhabitants of this part of Eastern DR Congo  where insecurity caused by armed groups persists despite the state of siege declared since May 2021 by the President of the Republic.”

VSV has subsequently called on the Congolese government through its Ministry of Defense and the High Command of the Congolese national army to put everything in place to totally guarantee the effectiveness of the state of siege as well as effectively re-establish peace in that part of the country.

The NGO also called for urgent investigations with a view to unravel those who murder the journalist and bring them to justice to answer for their actions. 

“He was leaving his kiosk where he had stopped on his way home from work (he owned a kiosque where telephone recharge cards were sold and calls made) when he was attacked by unknown individuals,” said Eric Waseburo, the Director of Programmes at La Colombe Radio in Rutshuru.

“Machete and knife wounds could be seen on his throat and the assassins are yet to be identified,” he added.

The military administrator of Rutshuru territory, Luc Albert Bakole Nyengeke, on his part revealed that Heritier received a telephone call from someone who gave him an appointment at the spot where he was slaughtered. 

“Different armed gangs operate in the region but the sector where Heritier was killed is controlled by the Congolese national army so this crime might be a villainous crime by individuals he might have hurt through his professional activities,” the military administrator said.

“We think his assassination is linked to his service because after killing him, the assassins took away his telephone. Heritier Magayane was animator of a youth programme in which he advised youths to give peace a chance faced with the chronic insecurity in the region,”  Roger Sebyeradu, a colleague of Heritier revealed.

Security officials who were dispatched to the scene of the killing to investigate are yet to issue any statement concerning the murder.

The father of the slain journalist was also killed about a year ago in the same way not far away from his house by yet to be identified individuals.

Journalists in the Eastern DR Congo have expressed disquiet over the killing of their colleague and some say somber reflections should be carried out in order to see how working hours could be curtailed so that journalists do not work late into the night.

“I personally as Director of Programmes at La Colombe Radio in Rutshuru, I am reflecting on how we can bring back the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. news editions to 6 p.m. because one fears in Rutshuru especially when one circulates at night,”  Eric Waseburo said.

“Journalists are always threatened with death by unidentified individuals. We regularly broadcast news about kidnappings as well as the crimes of soldiers and police officials.”

“Authors of these crimes are not always happy with us and can use the night to take their revenge on us. We suspect that it is the authors of the crimes who always threaten us and can eventually succeed in killing us especially as we are in a zone where cases of looting and kidnapping are legendary.”

In a related development, a suspected kidnapper was lynched by irate people of Kaswha not far away from the office of the territorial administrator in the night of Friday, August 6 to Saturday August 7.

North Kivu and Ituri provinces have since May this year been under a state of siege decreed by President Felix Tshisekedi with a view to putting an end to the activities of armed groups which have been terrorizing the populations since the 1990s.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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